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maynard says the lame duck session is not the time to get things down. >> all that what could the debate tell us who will win in november? the answer will surprise you. it's coming in "the cycle" for columbus day 2012: we've got a month to go in this marathon we call a presidential election race. today on "the cycle" we ask the big question, what matters? is there an event or series of events that makes the winner win? can a good debate performance erase months of a campaign? about three hours ago mitt romney took a foreign policy swipe in what will be billed as a big speech. >> the president has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need. i know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous
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middle east allied with us. i share this hope, but hope is not a strategy. the greater tragedy of it all is we're missing a historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the middle east, friends fighting for their own futures against the same violent extremists and evil tyrants and angry mobs that seek to harm up. >> right now the president is speaking at the national headquarters of the united farm workers union in california. does any of this really matter? do the polls matter? do ads, nearly a billion dollars worth matter? do all the campaign appearances tell the tale? we asked that with our team plus a friend of the show dr. john nan allen from politico. >> prish the intro. >> we have 29 days to go, and we know almost nobody decides based on foreign policy. does romney's foreign policy speech matter? does foreign policy matter? >> i think it does matter right now, because there's so much
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volatility around the world that it has called into question some of the policies that barack obama has put into place. to the extent that he can highlight that, i think mitt romney wants to do that. he wants to call into question the president's judgment on an area where he had a good lead, where the president has passed that commander in chief test in 2008 getting elected to the presidency. that's what he's trying to do. i think it's mostly about the economy. >> i'm going to agree with jonathan here. this is an election certainly about the economy. when they go into the voting booths on voting day, it's about the economy. i think romney has the opportunity here and needs to take it. to link obama's economic policies with his foreign policies, i don't think he should go after romney on the philosophical differences between his foreign policy and obama's. frankly, it's hard to figure out what obama's foreign policy philosophy is. he needs to talk about broken
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promises and incompetent and link the broken promises and incompetent and the foreign policy to those in the economic policy. i thought the speech today was good. it gave the right and his supporters some red meat. they like to hear things like leading from behind and all of that, but i hope he saves up some ammo for the foreign policy debate and lays out an argument we've talked about of criticizing obama's foreign policy from the left. what do you think about that, john that? >> i think there are places where that's do y-able where yo can criticize it from the left. mitt romney has to show the public he can pass that commander in chief test. i think this speech today was aimed at that. of course, everybody that gives a speech on foreign policy calls it a major speech on foreign policy. never hear anybody give a minor speech. you know, i also still think there's something that mitt romney has to do to delineate himself from barack obama right now in a lot of the same way
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that he was comparing himself to obama's failures on the economy as he would put it. this was a failure on foreign policy sort of speech that didn't necessarily delineate what mitt romney would actually do. there were words, hope isn't a strategy, but what is mitt romney's strategy that's different from barack obama's with regard to israel and iran? >> jonathan, real quick, this was a speech rife from specifics everything from building 15 ships a year and three submarines to requiring nato allies to commit 2% of gdp to security. there were some specifics in in speech. >> there were definitely some specifics. i don't mean to say there weren't. i think it's difficult also as a challenge to get to this place where you can criticize the president effectively by laying out your own plans without going so far as to be, you know, helpful to america's enemies. i think it's a difficult game to play. there were certain things i heard. for instance, in libya he said that he believed that the best
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course for the united states was to continue to help the libyans with their self-governance and pursue the people that killed our ambassador. i don't think you would hear anything different from barack obama on that or anybody in this administration in terms of what their goals are there. i think in terms of taking actions and not just having words against iran, i'm not sure that that's a whole lot different than what you see if our government now believe that had iran was about on to strike with a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world. >> jonathan, i think you're exactly right. the basic problem that romney runs up against here is the same problem with domestic policy whshgs it comes to economic policy. he really at a substantive level doesn't have much to say because the campaign strategy has basically been whether it's the economy or foreign policy, take any given issue and say obama has failed, and everything is terrible. here's some statistics and make a vague and broad promise of leadership, new leadership, bold leer looedship, a bold strategy on romney's part that will be
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different. you try to capitalize on basic frustration and anxiety with how they feel about the country. let me give a specific example of this from the speech today. romney talked about the need for new leadership and bold leadership to bring a resolution to the israel/palestine situation. when the cameras were not rolling a few months ago when millions weren't listening or watching, romney had a different take on the exact same subject. i'd like to play that right now. >> these are problems that are very hard to solve. i look at the policy for political purposes committed to the destruction and elimination of israel, and he's throwing the issues. i say there's just to way. what you do is you move things along the best wake you can, you hope for a degree of stability but you recognize it's going to remain unsolved. >> so i'm sorry. it gets hard to take this stuff seriously at a certain point with when the guy gives a major
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foreign policy speech and bash obama for not bringing resolution to this program as president when he has gone in front of a group of people and basically said the best you could do as president is kick the can down the road. i have a hard time taking that seriously. >> unfortunately, he can't say that in the speech. that would have been problematic. i think this was a speech he had to give, and in a way it is important because remarkably by historic standards, the president, a democrat, has a large advantage and has over the course of this campaign on foreign policy and on even things like fighting terrorism. romney narrowed that gap, but it's a threshold to cross, that of credible commander in chief. for that reason, s.e., i think this was an important speech. >> we're going to get jonathan back in as soon as we can. his ears aren't working right now. obama has done a lot of things that the bush administration did and carried over. you said, wouldn't you complain if bush did that? fair enough. even dick cheney knows he's carried over a lot of things that we were doing.
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so when obama's running a fairly right wing foreign policy, because it's difficult for mitt romney to challenge that. >> that's what i mean. it's hard to pin down his political philosophy, because whether you look at libya or israel or yemen, he's sort of all over the board. >> how does mitt romney challenge it when he's doing the policy that he would like to do? >> it's difficult, because there's criticisms for this president from the right and the left. it's very hard to come out and make both arguments that somehow he's failing the right and left on foreign policy. >> when you try to -- >> it seems like the strategy politically that romney has used on this since he starpted running in this cycle has been let's go -- whatever the events of the day are in foreign policy, whether it's libya exploding in march 2011 or afghanistan, whatever it is, whatever the events of the day are, the official position of the romney campaign has to be, obama is wrong. then they work backwards and work backwards and say, this is
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why he's wrong. this is why he's weak. the result is when you look at everything he said, total, utter incoherence. you have him suggesting today potentiwtentially military intervention in libya. >> also in iran. >> what did he say when we started -- the intervention in libya began with nato? march 2011? a completely different tune. he responds to the events of the day and works backwards to say why obama has failed. >> what's interesting to see in that foreign policy debate if the president comes equipped with contradictory statements as you point outd, how his position shifted on libya and he can lay out the points in a compelling way in a way that he was not quite frankly in the past debate. one of the other things we're talking about this week is the fact that romney seemingly in what he laid out in the past debate on his tax cuts, what he's saying and the reality of his plan don't add up. the president wasn't able
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effectively say to him, you know, you haven't been specific on the deductions. he did not directly challenge mitt romney, and one of the things looking forward this week interesting to see is whether joe biden is able to turn to paul ryan in that way and say, your math doesn't add up. give me one specific deduction. in some ways i think with joe biden and paul ryan it's going to be an even more damaging conversation if ryan has to obviscate and come up with specifics because he's the numbers guy. >> he's going to be prepared. we'll be prepared. >> he doesn't have enough time it to answer the question, but going back to the theme of the day, what matters, the economy always matters. ever since the cold war it's been about the economy with the possible exception of '04, right? we're in the war of terrorism. >> even in '04 the exit polls showed that even though it was a foreign policy election, it was still about the economy. >> it's always about the economy. foreign policy is at best second or third most important. once again this foreign policy
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forray into mitt romney it may be a couple days lost. he's not talking about the economy on an area where i think it's impossible to catch up to barack obama. >> i do take the point that he needs to give a speech like this. it's necessary if you're running for president. it's not necessarily sufficient to win the presidency, but it's necessary that you do it. >> up next, the house speaker's telling comment about who really runs washington. we'll explore that as we roll on for monday, october 8th, columbus day. ah. fire bad! just have to fire roast these tomatoes. do you churn your own butter too? what? this is going to give you a head start on your dinner. that seems easier sure does who are you? [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. five delicious cooking sauces you combine with fresh ingredients to make amazing home-cooked meals. ♪ ambiance [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters.
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hi.
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>> theo robertson here for career day. >> wonderful. >> i'm going to teach the kids a whole lot of things they can't learn in school. we don't need a world full of straight a students. i'm an old c average man myself. probably a c minus. >> oh, i love "duck dynasty." speaking of ducks, how about that upcoming lame duck, or as we like to call it dead duck session. we got there. it's looking more and more unlikely that congress will actually agree on a long-term deal after the elections to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff on new year's day. we're talking about $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts that automatically kick in if congress doesn't act. john boehner said i'm not sure if it's the right thing to do. having a lot of retiring members and defeated members votes on
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really big bills. what is the right thing to do? expect another short-term duct tape fix. no wonder the congressional approval rating is a dismal 13%. let's start there. what about the morality? my feeling is, one, you should do everything in your power to avoid a lame duck. i was talking to a house republican this morning in d.c. who said if congress did everything right in the first 22 months, they wouldn't have to rely on the last two to get stuff done. it's a real failure of leadership, part of the president and both houses. republicans and democrats that were in the spot now. however, i'm going to slightly disagree with the speaker. i think these guys should absolutely vote in the lame duck. i reject the premise that somehow because they're on their way out they don't have special interests, and somehow that makes them different from when they were elected. we elected them because we want them to be subjective, not objective. because we want their
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partisanship and ideology and we know full well they come in with special interests and want to please their constituents. why abandon that just because they're on the last two outgoing months of their career. it doesn't make sense to me. >> it doesn't make sense, and unfortunately it's the reality how congress works. until there's a deadline, nothing happens. i like the way john boehner phrased how can we handle the lame duck? it creates some interesting images in my head. you know, what i would say here is i think boehner's comments are purely political. one of the arguments against the president getting re-elected is if he gets re-elected, he's going to have a republican congress to work with, and nothing's going to get done. we won't let anything get done. i think boehner's comments come from a purely political place, not a realistic place. the other thing in the 2010 lame duck session i was very pessimistic anything was going to happen. in fact, we had a rash of actual
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substantive happenings including the repeal of don't ask don't tell, extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance and unfortunately an extension of the bush tax cuts. a lot happened in the lame duck session, so that's a possibility again for this year. >> i think we can't look at this in a vacuum, though. it makes sense to wait right now and talk pessimistically about the lame duck session. no one knows what the composition will be after the elections. if your party is suddenly in a better position come january, you have an incentive to kick it down the road a little bit. what we see right now, which party is in a bargaining position, and this is a lost opportunity for obama in lass week's debate and an opportunity to see going forward is the promise of this election for obama was that he could use this to create a public dialogue about the issue of taxing the
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wealthy. it has been 22 years now since a single republican member of congress has voted for a tax increase of any kind, an income tax increase. if you're going to have any kind of a long-term deal, a long-term dif set deal, which is what everybody -- not everybody, but a lot of people on both sides who say this is what they want. if you're going to, it will include a tax component on the wealthy. >> if obama campaigns on that and wins and if democrats hold the senate and make gains in the house, that could ratchet up pressure on republicans to make some kind of deal. otherwise, you have the other thing. it's a myth that nothing is going to happen in the lame duck, because if they take democrat off and congress doesn't show up, a lot will happen. december 31st, the expiration of the bush tax cuts. they go away if nothing happens. something ahas to happen. >> i find it extremely rich to hear john boehner talking about we can't do anything because for almost four years the gop strategy of obstruction has been to keep anything from happening. anything that obama wants,
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anything he's interested in, we must stop that and keep it from happening with the express purpose of destroying faith in government and that people even like what government is doing until the single-digit approval numbers for all of congress so they will support the anti-government party and perpetuating the pain that americans feel in this recession so they will throw out obama. it is not a bipartisan problem. it's an asymmetrical problem and historic. it's shocking it's not a national scandal that one party said we will put party aahead of country and inflict pain on america to have electoral success. >> do you think if republicans vote to raise taxes, governor norquist's head will explode? >> yes. the threat of that kind of primary challenge from that part of the party kept it for 22 years. amazing. >> before we go, one of us was bestowed a huge honor this
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weekend. a p aaody of s.e. cupp made it into an "snl" kick. >> i'm rachel maddow. we try to pick up the pieces and make sense of barack obama's perform in wednesday's debate. as we call it on msnbc, the worst thing ever happened anywhere. joining me toint is the reverend al sharpton. >> i'm never forget where i was the night of that debate. i was here. >> other one conservative contributor, s.e. cupp. >> this has been the best week of my life. >> and joining us from outside the university of colorado where he's refused to eat, shower or sleep since the debate, chris matthews. >> what the hell happened! >> s.e. cupp, anything to add from the conservative perspective. >> no, rachel. i'm happy to listen and smile. i believe the term is gloating. >> i thought that was awesome.u
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>> i was proud of you and then for putting them up there. i wish they had better glasses, but that was awesome. >> hard it to complain. this could have been a lot worse, you know. >> that's pretty good. >> it was a little surreal, right? >> completely surreal. completely surreal and weird and flattering and also really weird. it was great. >> was last week really the best week of your life? >> she did gloat a little bit. >> i he mean, i appreciated her chair dance, because i do do that. >> what is it? if they do this again, what is the one key that you want anybody who is going to be doing the s.e. cupp character? >> she has to lower her voice register a little bit. >> you're very kathleen turner. >> my voice is down there. that was the only noticeable tweak, but far be it for me to offer any criticism. i think it was kate mckin none that did it. thank you. >> maybe one day "snl" will notice us. who would you --
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>> maybe because we're at this table with s.e. >> maybe her fame will shine on us. if you can have anybody on "snl" in the entire history since we're playing a hypothetical game, play you, who? >> there's playing a graphic race. i said this morning charles rocket, because he's the most random. he dropped an f bomb on the air 30 years ago. and i'm known for my profanity. >> yeah, right. >> on air and off air known for your profanity. i would have to go with the great tina fey, my sister from uva. >> without her glasses it's not that far off. >> that would be pretty cool. >> obviously, you know, to see my man chris rock do a little toure would be amazing. >> sure, sure. >> i'd probably end up with keenan. >> sorry, keenan. >> maybe jay -- >> maybe chris rock. >> that was fun and again thanks very much for all of that. i'm thoroughly embarrassed.
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>> i'm getting an autograph later. >> up next, in keeping with our theme today, what really matters. did mitt's debate performance mean anything? we go to the numbers next. we have on our numbers guru in the guest spot to tell us what they all mean. she helps local boutiques sell online. she knows content sells, so she launched a companion online magazine as an ultimate source for what's in. for more watch "your business" on sunday mornings on msnbc.
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as we get ready for thursday's vice presidential debate, mitt romney is riding high from his performance last week. among those who watched, a whooping 72% thought romney won that debate. compare that to 20% for president obama. 52 point margin is the largest in the poll's history. only bill clinton's 1992 town hall debate with george h.w. bush with ross perot came close. is romney's debate performance helping him win over voters on
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election day? in the three days before the debate, president obama led mitt romney by five points. in the three days after the debate, obama and romney were typed according to gallup. the seven-day tracking poll that includes three debate days and four post-debate days has the race at 50-45 obama. to help us sort it out let's welcome back nate. today he wrote about romney's bounce and how long it might last. nate, thank god we have you here. my head is spinning trying to sort through it. let me lay it out for everybody and you can interpret it. gat will you please released yesterday three days of polls after the debate and said we have a tied race. gallup has a seven-day average that shows bahaobama gaining a t and losing a point. we have that, and then on the
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other end we have just before the show came on today, the daily coast and the sciu liberal groups say they have a poll coming out tomorrow that puts romney ahead. i got no idea. you tell us, where does this race stand right now? >> it's a little complicated, but keep in mind how the trackers work. when they add a new day of interviews, they drop the oldest day. when you see obama gaining now, that means that obama's interviews yesterday were even better than those from seven days ago, conducted before the debate. similarly when you look at the three-day approval number and you see that it's gone up, that means that obama's interviews yesterday were much better than the ones conducted three days ago, which was immediately after the debate. i think what the gallup numbers tell us is romney had a really good couple of days after the debate, but since then their numbers show obama doing better. it's too early to tell whether that's noise or not but consistent with data we see. it's consistent with the poll
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that shows romney doing well over a long early time period that includes the days after the debate went well. it's consistent with state numbers that show bahama doing pretty well in the last two days but much worse on friday and saturday. it's also consistent with rasmussen which shows obama going back to predebate levels. so i think that the way you can synthesize all this is romney had a great couple of days after the debates, but now it's a little better for obama. >> you mentioned the state polls there. this is a question i'm sorting out and you wrote about it in the last few days. the conventional wisdom among the political science crowd is you don't have much variance between where the national horse race stands and where the race stands in the battleground states. if it moves nationally, it moves the same direction in the swing states. we see in this race closer polls nationally where obama will only be ahead by two points or whatever it is, and then you look at ohio and virginia and you see four or five, six, seven
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point margins. is there any imbalance between the two, and do you have any explanation for it? >> we don't have very many state polls back yet. the initial wave of state polls showed romney doing pretty well in the battleground states. in the rasmussen polls over the last two days, obama is doing better. that's consistent with the trend i talked about earlier. the question is whether obama gets an outsized bounce in states like ohio, nevada and iowa where he was doing better than nationally. if you look at all of the national polls conducted since the first debate, what you see is about a three point gain for romney. if that holds and if that uniformly filtering down to the battleground states, romney would still trail in iowa, ohio and alabama and obama would have a slight advantage ♪ electoral college. >> continuing our theme of what really matters, let's talk about the polls. obviously, polls don't vote. but do they sway the electorate? do they see one person as
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leading or gaining and some people decide to change their vote? is there some science on do polls actually shape the election itself? >> i don't think there's very much evidence that polls shift the election. if they did, i think we would see, you know, a clearer sign of that. what i think the public reacts to that is momentum, i think a lot of voters are like the people that aren't sure or are sure what they want for dinner but won't say it in a crowd necessarily. when someone says what they want, they jump out and say i want kfc tonight. >> i'm so glad you said that, because that sounds delicious. >> a lot of voters after the debates aren't sure whether they like bahama that much or whether i like him enough to say it. they're still voting for him. when the job numbers show him doing better, maybe they feel compelled to come back to the side. >> isn't that the same thing when polls move towards the direction, it's momentum and others get swept up in the
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momentum. >> i'm sorry. say again? >> when the polls move in a certain direction, that represents momentum and others get swept up in the wake of that momentum? >> so far there's not much evidence that down ballot democratic tickets are moving along with the polls, and that's one of the better causes of optimism with the obama campaign. >> now i really want k dp fc. >> we're going after the show. >> tell me what response you see in the polls typically from a vp debate not just on the personals for the folks involved in the debate, like biden and paul ryan, but what can we expect in terms of a bounce for either candidate at the top of the ticket after the debate? >> typically, there's not a large movement in the polls associated with the vp debate. i will throw out that to the extent obama's decline after the first debate is drirch by a kfc-like problem, make have the voters come back to obama if they feel a little more confident in him.
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that, of course, depends on whether the movement in romney's direction is genuine or whether reflects a shift in momentum. >> nate, to that point, it seems like we have mini-bounces and returning back to a two to three-point obama lead nationally. sth is that the race we have? is it going to be that until election day? >> that's the race we have. obama has been around 49% since the dnc. romney has been as high as 47. there's not many persuadable voters. in order for a decisive shift, it's the result of turnout or some sort of unforeseen event we haven't had in this election. this election is full of unforeseen events. obama count out on gay marriage and the mini-dream act and the affordable care act and none has moved the polls. this debate might have moved the polls, but even then there's signs it's just temporary. i think it's an open question whether anything moves the polls
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that much at this stage. >> i have a prediction for you. when you get home tonight, there is be a couple of buckets of chicken waiting for you from kfc for the publicity you gave them today. thanks for joining us, nate. straight ahead, president obama hasn't just changed the way we think about race in politics, he changed the way we talk about it. the author of "articulate while black" joins us next. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life.
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>> the okie-doke. >> that's been a crucial part of his appeal to his followers. the president who once refused change from a cashier says we're straight, is great at code switching. he can move from speaking in a black way to speaking with white speaking norms. he can sound comfortable in both areas. language is central to how race is perceived, so our next guest examined obama and the politics of race through the lens of language through a fascinating new book called articulate white black: obama and race in the u.s. it's co-authored is sammie alen. welcome, professor. >> great to be here. thanks for having me. >> a lot of times the black ways of talking, they keep us from getting a job. how is it that barack obama was able to use them, is able to use them in ways that don't deledge
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miz him with both audiences? >> that's a really good question. in fact, these ways of speaking almost delegitimatize barack obama at every turn. one of the things we've shown in the book is how no matter what he says, opponents and conservatives continue to racialize his speech as black. we have several cases of this. rush limbaugh over and over on his radio show plays barack obama talking and insisted that he said the word ax or ask and he kep making this insistence over and over again. his speech does get racialized as black, but he mastered quote-unquote white ways of speaking. he has mastered both varieties and can switch between the two, which allows him to be successful. >> we talk about the diversity of voters on the democratic side. somebody like buster rhymes who
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you cite or somebody from the harvard square area, both of them see in him this guy can speak to me. speak to that a little bit, and how barack obama being on the national stage and speaking black english, sprinkling that into his vocabulary has changed the way we look at black language and race in america. >> excellent. these are two questions. one, most people think of barack obama being able it to speak black or use black language as only helpful for the black demographic or the black voting electorate. >> it's helpful for the white electorate in ways we don't expect. when white americans -- in our book we talked to americans and surveyed americans. when they hear barack obama talking black in that first clip with the black preacher style, that links barack obama to martin luther king and other famous african-american preachers. a historical tradition so talking black actually americanizes and christianizes
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barack obama in the eyes of many white americans. in that sense it's actually very helpful for him. now, moving forward, barack obama can speak in multiple ways, and he's learned to do this as an adult, an adolescent and throughout his lifetime. this has been helpful for him in politics moving forward. we're already looking at the need of politicians to be at least bilingual speaking multiple languages and multiple varieties of the same language. >> professor you pull in your book a quote from the president in which he says in part, in general, members of every minority group continue to be measured largely by the degree of our asimulation. how closely speech patterns, dress or demeanor conform to the dominate white culture and the more that a minority strays from these external markers, the more he or she is subject to negative assumptions. is this an added challenge and skill that african-americans and latinos in particular have to
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master to be successful? >> absolutely. there's a phrase known as the black tax where you have to work twice as hard and be twice as good if you're african-american. there's a black linguist task. in this case i think it's fascinating that we have a president who can basically sum up in a nut shell what scholars refer to as white cultural ho homogeny. if you're too far away from whiteness, you get judged negatively. when harry reid said that barack obama can speak in the quote-unquote negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one, you will never hear anyone referring to a white candidate as speaking in a he white dialect, right, or can't speak in a white dialect unless he wants to have one.
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you never have that refusal. it's absolutely true. >> professor in 2004 bill cosby set off a firestorm when he criticized pockets of black america for failing to teach their children proper english. how has that narrative changed or evolved since obama came into office, or has it? >> ing think it's interesting, because i've received phone calls from journalists to system me to comment on the way young americans speak. now our kids don't have to be like mike. they can talk like barack, and what they mine by that is they want african-american children to abandon their language in order to learn quote-unquote standard english or white ways of speaking. what barack obama does that is very effective is he switches between varieties and ways of speaking without devaluing any of them. i think barack obama serves in
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that sense as a linguist role model. he uses these varieties as cultural resources. >> if they're going to speak like barack, they have to codeswitch and speak both sides. the book is great. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. up next, a conservative walks into a bar. we're not talking about s.e., although thaz happened. the politics of punch lines, something jon stewart and bill o'reilly know all about. >> income redistribution. do you believe in it? >> do you? >> no. i asked first. >> i believe -- >> it's a complicated one. >> i believe in social security. do you believe in social security. >> absolutely. >> so we're both socialists? >> no, no. humans -- one day, we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... stop, stop, stop! my car! not so much. but that's okay. you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance.
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i believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. >> and i can see russia from my house. >> gore realizes he's finished within the american legal system. now he's going straight to the hall of justice. >> nixon got in trouble for illegally wiretapping democratic headquarters. bush is illegally wiretapping the entire country. >> mother of [ bleep ]. you fired big bird! >> a troubling new report from the shuttleworth institute shows that due to facebook, every potential candidate for the 2040 presidential race, no matter how
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smart or accomplished, is now completely unelectable. >> that last one is not so funny. too close, too close. there's no denying that politics and humor have been strange bed foe l fellows for a long central's late night lampooning. jokes are often loaded with a serious political message. but when this satire sleeps in, is it subconsciously biased towards liberals. with is the author of "a conservative walks into a bar." alison one thing i noticed and i'm sure our viewers noticed from the clips we bumped in with are there are no conservatives other than our own s.e. cupp who is hilarious. are conservatives just not that funny. >> oh, no, conservatives are very funny. sometimes they mean to be, sometimes they don't.
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>> clint eastwood comes to mind. >> there are some very good conservative humorists out there, but most of liberal. there are reasons for this. a lot of it has to do with the nature of political comedy. it's an outsider art, and some of it has to do with the job choice a conservative or liberal will make. >> well,tory ray is begging for me to ask you who. >> dennis miller. he may not be -- >> no, absolutely, he's hill larous. >> nick dipaulo. >> i want to make a comment. i think conservatives need to stop whining about this. either get funnier or realize that because jon stewart and "snl" are perceived as being left leaning, when they do skewer the president, as "snl" did this weekend or when they d handling of libya, it almost
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resonates in a much bigger way, yes or no? >> no, i think you're absolutely right. i think part of comedy is taking shots, political humorists taking shots at everybody. that also is in the liberal wheel house. liberals tend to sort of eat their own and that's what comedians do. i think that if you go into comedy and say, i want to be funny, and then second airily, i want to be conservative, you can be pretty funny. if you go in first and i say i want to do conservative humor, you'll have a harder time being funny with that. >> that line between comedy and making a serious political point is kind of interesting to me. you think about jon stewart, and his fallback it always seems to be when people really stoort to question him about his politics, i'm just a comedian. but i think of the other example, think of al franken, a guy who wrote all the material for "snl" for years, performer, writer, e used that intentionally toward the end as a vehicle to be taken seriously
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and to get into politics and he wound. in the united states senate. it seems interesting. some people may see, you know, comedy and satire as a way to get ahead in serious sort of endeavors. >> that makes sense. i interviewed almost three dozen write ertion and comedians for this book and all of them said we're not trying to educate people, we're trying to be funny. know that when al franken ran for the senate and when he became a senator, he became very serious about his policy and he put that first. and so while his fund-raising letters can be very, very witty, truly he's a senator first and a comedian not. >> alison, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> and up next, before joe biden and paul ryan square off this week, we have a little vice presidential debate history toure style. of any small business credit card. your boa! [ garth ] thor's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day! ahh, the new fabrics, put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less?
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george h.w. bush once said of the vp debates, it's the toledo mud hens, it's not the big leagues. like the minors, vp debates are often a great show, but are they consequenti consequential? vp nominees aren't ren certain to deliver their home state. but they are key to knowing who will win the presidential race. in the first debate governor cartary's running mate walter mondale faced off against senator dole. >> i think senator dole has richly earned his reputation as a hatchet man tonight by implying and stating that world war ii and the korean war were democratic wars. >> you see a little more of that, you will see dole's disdain for the exercise is here.
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mondale won the debate and carter won the election. so that's once that the vp debate winner telegraphed november's winner. there was no debate in 1980 but in '84 there was one when vp bush and geraldine ferraro. >> let me just say, first of all, that i almost resent vice president bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. >> history differs on who won that one. let's put that as a tie. 1988 brought one of the most famous exchanges when senator lloyd benson spanked senator dan quayle. >> senator, i served with jack kennedy. i knew jack kennedy, jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> benson won easily, but dukakis lost putting our scoreboard at 1-1-1, but since then they've been strangely
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predictive of november. the correlation is much stronger than presidential debate winner and election winner. it starts in '92, the chaotic debate between senator gore, vice president gail and admiral stockdale. gore won, as did clinton. record, 2-1-1. in '96 gore debated senator jack kemp. gore narrowly won that and so did clinton. record 3-1-1. in 2000 and '04, dick cheney dispatched his opponents. and in '08 palin outdid expectations but biden clearly won as did obama pushing the record to 6-1-1. five times in a row and six out of eight that the winner of the vp debate has gone on to win the election. various people in the media have wanted to declare this war over hundreds of times. no

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The Cycle
MSNBC October 8, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.

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